My wife saw a victim of violence, and the trauma brought tears to her eyes

The daily headlines make it sound so matter-of-fact: “Violence in Philly includes two fatal shootings, a double stabbing, and six wounded by gunfire.”
Except it’s never that simple, because behind each headline, there is a family, a community, a life. There is someone whose death creates trauma for all who see it.
This weekend, my wife saw the aftermath of the violence that’s gripping out communities, as a young man lay in a pool of blood on Chelten Avenue, the victim of one of those acts of violence. She cried and we prayed and she cried some more, unable to shake the image of someone’s son lying on the ground as the life’s blood leaked out if his wounds.

Now multiply her tears by hundreds. Multiply her trauma by thousands. Multiply the poor education and the poverty. Multiply the joblessness and the imprisonment. Multiply the hurt and the anger and the pain and dysfunction, and then you’ll have a glimpse of why this is happening.

Our young people are attending their classmates’ funerals. Our mothers are burying their sons. Our fathers and uncles and brothers are in jail by the time they see that the government has the real trap house.

They’re trapped in systems that keep them from meeting their potential. They’re trapped in systems that are meant to bring them back. They’re trapped in systems that leave men behind bars and their children to fend for themselves. That’s the trap. That little place where Raheem and them sell drugs? That’s just the bait.

We can and we must do better than this. The violence in our communities is making other folks rich. Sending their kids to college. Paying for their summer homes. From prison guards to administrators, social workers and medical staff, everybody’s making money off of us but us.

The violence in our community is traumatizing, and it leaves too many of us in a trap.
Photo: “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” Tape By. Tex Texin

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